Muslim groups slam new call for UK burka ban

Muslim groups across the UK have hit out against a campaign to ban burkas, saying the “dangerous” move would fuel Islamophobia at a time of increasing racial tensions in Britain.

Dr Taj Hargey, an imam and head of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford on Thursday launched a campaign to ban full face coverings, including the niqab, from being worn in public.

“We want to make a burka-free Britain,” he told Al Arabiya News. “We should follow what France and Belgium have done.”

The European Court of Human Rights this month upheld a ban on full face veils in France. Following the ruling, Austria, Norway and Denmark may also ban the burka. Belgium adopted a ban in 2011, as has the Spanish city of Barcelona, and the autonomous Catalonia region plans a similar move.

Groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) – and even the UK’s Secular Society – today criticised Hargey’s call for a ban in Britain.

“Firstly, he is a man. He should not really be articulating a view on what women should or should not do,” said Talha Ahmad, chair of the membership committee at the MCB.

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